Last weekend my regatta-season kicked off at Grömitz, and we were very lucky with the wind, as we finished 7 Formula-racings and 2 complete Slalom eliminations. Despite some Ups and Downs I managed to finish in 18th place overall out of 54 contenders.
Friday we had some wind
from the East but unfortunately it was never enough to get the races going as the wind stayed under the limit. This gave me the chance to tune my Formula gear up perfectly as I only used my new Gaastra Vapor 2 board once before. I also purchased a FRB-8 fin to improve my upwind performance. With no idea how the new equipment would work out I was quite excited for the next two days.
The forecast for the wind was to increase throughout the day and this came true. At 1pm we were called to the start for the first Formula races. After almost 8 month without a race I messed up my first few starts and always started at the back of the pack, but I soon realized that the new board, in combination with the new fin gives me quite an advantage compared to last year. After starting with a 19th place, my next results were all in between 17th and 18th which is not so bad for the first races of the season. In total we did 4 races before switching to Slalom as the wind picked up to ~15kts. There we were devided into 4 heats of 12 sailors, with the Top 6 advancing. I did a good start in my first heat and rounded the first buoy in 5th position. Making a small mistake on the second jibe mark I lost one position to finish in 6th which qualified me for the semifinal. In the semifinal I made the mistake to start to far downwind and with a strong heat I was rolled by a few sailors in the first leg to finish in 9th position. In the B-final I didn’t set my watch correctly which resulted in a premature start and a 24th position in Slalom for me.
After the five races on the previous day my energy level was quite low, but the E-wind continued to blow. With this direction being onshore a wave of ~1m (3ft) developed over night. Because the wind was a bit to light for Slalom we started the day with Formula-windsurfing again. I manged to time my starts a little better on Sunday and was also feeling quite comfortable in the waves. I used a 11m sail in all my heats, which gave me a lot of control. I could finish all three races on Sunday in 16th position, but I think I can climb a few more places by working on my starts and my tactics. Formula is a very technical discipline so taking the right course is crucial; these first races gave me a lot of confidence as I could compare my speed and Up and Down-wind performance to everyone elses. Especially on the downwind legs I could always gain a few places as I could go very deep and still keep a lot of speed.
After these races we had just enough time and wind to start and finish one last Slalom elimination. Using my 8,6 Severne Reflex along with my 129l Tabou Manta (81 wide) I could once again advance from my 1st heat in 5th position. After tuning my gear a bit better than on Saturday I had more speed and felt very comfortable. The wind thus increased to around 16-18 knots for my semifinal so I was really lit with my 8,6. I did a good start and rounded the first mark in 6th position. Doing a sketchy jibe on the third mark I lost one place to finish in 7th; just outside the qualifying places. That left me in the B-final once more, and once again I jumped the gun there, being 1-2 sec. early. With the wind blowing up to 20 kts I could not slow down before the start line enough. After this the racing was done with 7 Formula and 2 Slalom-eliminations being completed. Grömitz proved to be a very good destination for this year and I’m already looking forward to compete here again next year. Here are my final results:
Despite my mistakes I’m happy with my speed in both Formula and Slalom and I now look forward to the next race, which will be the Long Distance Race in Fehmarn next weekend.